Mid-Summer Swoon: Guest Blogger Week Kick-off!

Every day Shanna and I share some swoon-worthy project that we are working on or dying to do, product that we just love and want to make sure you know about, or  just something that has inspired or struck a chord with us in some way.  We love bringing the things that make us smile to all of you each and every day.  In turn we have also thoroughly enjoyed  hearing from you, our amazing readers, about what you have been swooning over and the projects you have seen or done that make you oh so very happy! 

With this being said,  Shanna and I thought it would be a great idea to invite five fabulous bloggers to come on over next week and share with us their swoon-worthy summery posts.  Thank you ladies for joining us, we are so honored to have you!  You all can check out their blogs at the links below, you are going to love every one of them!

Here's the line-up:

Monday:  Cassie from Hi Sugarplum!


Tuesday:  Lara from The Glossarie


Wednesday:  Judy from DIY by Design

Thursday: Noelle from Home Preferred 


Friday: Erin from Richmond Thrifter

See you swoon,

Busting Through the To Do List [Part 2]: the craft room/closet and kitchen desk

I am so predictable.  I knew that if I challenged myself to tackle the four clutter areas of the house (i.e., the garage, the laundry room, the craft room/closet and the kitchen desk area) before moving on to the fun of decorating, I would attack those clutter spots with wild abandon.  And did I ever.  On Tuesday I posted about how I got a handle on the garage and the laundry room.  Up today: the craft room/closet and the kitchen desk area.

The craft room/closet was ridiculously easy and took all of 10 minutes.  Here it is before I got started:

It was all the contents of my former craft room/closet in the old house just dumped in the closet in the kids' playroom.  I knew it would only take a few minutes to unpack and organize, and I was right.  It surely will not stay like this, but for now, it's pretty neatly organized and I can find whatever I need quickly.  While I'm at it, I should mention I think I will remove the door and turn this particular closet into the kids' art closet, since it is located in their playroom, and move my craft room/closet into the guest room walk-in closet, which is much bigger and can accommodate a workspace!! But I digress ... here are the much better afters:

Last, but certainly not least, the kitchen desk area.  Oddly enough, I put this one off for last and was dreading it even more than the garage, which was far more of a bear of a project.  Here is the kitchen desk before I got my hands on it:

Pretty grim.  It had the contents of our old bill paying drawer from the secretary desk (which now lives in the living room), our junk drawer (which was neatly organized) from the old kitchen, and the drawer of the buffet in the old dining room (a drawer which was pretty much a place to dump stuff we didn't know what to do with or feel like dealing with. In other words: disaster).  Because the computer would now live here instead of in the secretary desk, I realized we needed a place to charge our phones.  I bought a Pottery Barn desk charging station years ago, but gave it to Jamie when we bought the secretary desk.  When Jamie and I were at the Pottery Barn Outlet recently, I spied a few of the desk chargers and had one in my hand. Jamie offered to give back the charger I gave her because as much as she loved it, she couldn't find a place for it.  I double, triple and quadruple checked with her that it was OK for me to take it back and she insisted.  Yay for free (er ... already paid for) solutions!  Here is the charger:

I took everything off of the desk and out of the drawers.  I shredded a bunch of things that we no longer needed and then took stock of my storage.  I had four drawers to use.  I decided to put the bill paying stuff in the top drawer, the junk drawer in the second drawer, my coupon folders and paint fan decks in the third drawer and paper & notebooks for the kids in the bottom drawer. Here they are organized and orderly!

top drawer

second drawer (behold the Sharpies)

third drawer

bottom drawer
And here is the top of the desk.  Ahhhhh ... so much better.  I still have some work to do: I might want to bring in a lamp and it definitely needs some accessories.

You know what this means? I am getting closer to be able to start the Library!  I'm celebrating my organizational efforts by buying paint samples for that space.  I think I'm going to try Olympic paint for this one.  Lowe's is right up the street and I've heard great things about that brand of paint.  I'll be sure to show you the test swatches!

See you swoon,

Pottery Barn Barstool Knockoff: Simple Fix

Hump day, YAHOOOOO!  Almost there, hang in there.  Last week I showed you the amazing PB knockoff barstools that I found at the Christmas Tree Shop when Shanna and I made a stop at our local (1 hour away) outlets.  Here is a shot of the before barstool, LOVE the style and you can see the PB comparison here.

Not really digging the cherry seat so the plan form the start was to paint them black to match the rest of the chair.  A quick simple fix that was done with some black spray paint and matte polycrilic that I brushed on with a bristle brush.  At first I used glass spray paint but you can see how it left a blotchy finish which I was not happy with at all. 

So I lightly sanded the top and gave it a fresh coat of black to start over.  The polycrilic with the brush was the magic ticket!  Here is the after:

L.O.V.E.  Exactly what I wanted.  Have you made any quick and easy updates to your home that made such a huge satisfying difference?  You know we want to her all about it!

See you swoon,

Busting Through The To-Do List: the laundry room & garage

After the instant gratification of my unexpected mini-makeover in my master bathroom, I have decorating on the brain and am itching to get to my first really big project in the new house: the "library" (living room/office).  So, as promised, before I begin that project, I am first tackling several areas around the house that I've dubbed "clutter hot-spots", as I mentioned in my recent To Do List.  

Well, my friends, I can check two of the four off my list.  And I started out right: the garage.  Here is the garage before I started:

OK, let me explain.

Alright, there is no explanation. It was a mess.  A dumping zone.  And a total mismash of "stuff" that needed to be organized.   Before going in, I decided to separate the stuff into three piles: (1) stuff to stay in the garage; (2) stuff to go in the basement and (3) stuff to go in the house.

The garage would store the kids' outdoor toys and beach toys, the yard work equipment, the car equipment and the furniture projects du jour (at the time it was the Adirondack chairs, which are now done and the console table, which is primed but not yet painted).  The basement would hold our Christmas stuff, all of my tools and all of the paint (I'm going to DIY a workbench and the basement is going to be MY WORK AREA! - all caps necessary because this is my equivalent to a "man cave" or "mom cave").  And finally the stuff that went in the house were pieces that the movers just put in the garage because I didn't know where to put them right away: the chair in the living room and the cabinet for the laundry room.

Once I moved out all the basement and house stuff, I organized the garage items.  I bought two resin storage shelves from Lowe's for about $40 each (they're made of recycled plastic and hold 700 pounds each! they also mount to the wall of the garage for safety).  I was going to get a steel shelving unit but it was expensive and looked like a bear to assemble. These units were super easy to assemble (no tools!) and are really sturdy.   Digression aside, I used one storage unit for the yard stuff (gasoline and chemicals on the top out of reach of the kiddos) and the other unit for the kids' toys and sporting equipment.  I tried to keep all of the stuff on the one side of the garage so we could start parking a car in the other side.  Though, my furniture plans are in the way of that now.  Here are the afters (though these are certainly not "final" after pictures. I still have a lot of work to do in this space, but it's much better than before!).

Next up, the laundry room.  This was another clutter hot-spot in the house and it hardly took any time to get a handle on.  Here is the before:

I moved the empty baskets and bins in the basement.  I'm sure I will fill them soon enough.  I also moved the big green bin of lightbulbs in the basement, too.  I moved the ironing board upstairs to the one hall closet, along with the iron. And finally, I moved Coco's litterbox to the far side of the bench, so it isn't one of the first things greeting you when you walk into the laundry room from the kitchen. Here is the after of that area:

The other side of the room, which unfortunately I don't have a "before" picture of, had a tall metal cabinet, which I filled with paint and cleaners. I moved that cabinet in the basement and brought in the little cabinet that I scored from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore last January (and still have not painted).  I'll eventually paint that, add hardware and legs and a cool countertop.  I'm going to hang the shelf over it, though right now the shelf is, uh, on it.  I want to hold off hanging the shelf until I work on the room, because my plan is to add board and batten all around the space, so I will want to do that first.

Here's one last shot of the laundry room, which is the view from the kitchen and den.

Yay! Two spots down and two to go.  All I have left is to get a handle on the kitchen desk area and the craftroom/closet and I can get to work on my first real decorating challenge in the house!  Stay tuned!

See you swoon,

An Adirondack Update

Another week, another project and I say that with so much joy.  I have had a little lull in my projects so it feels great to be back on the train again!  We had the pleasure of record breaking heat this weekend as most of you did I am sure.  What did Shanna and I decide to do?  Paint.  Yup we decided to stand outside and paint chairs.    The best part about the heat was that the chairs dried super quick so we finished these bad boys in about an hour, minus the second trip to Home Depot for more paint (we grossly underestimated how much we would need).

So you remember our Home Depot Adirondack chairs

This is what they looked like on my porch before they were painted but after the super easy assembly.

Shanna and I decided to try our hand at spray painting.  I have never spray painted furniture and the thought of taking a brush to all these nooks and crannies was not even the least bit appealing so we stocked up on spray paint.  We started with primer which was soaked up immediately even with the Rust-Oleum 2x the coverage can!

After primer:

This is Shanna's can, she went with the Rust-Oleum Professional which I switched to after our second run to the hardware store. 

This handy dandy tool is a must if you are spray painting anything longer than 10 seconds.  I compared the handle vs. my finger and it was like night and day, the spray handle was amazing and gave us more control which led to better coverage.

After the primer was on and the first coat of white we were really pleased with the progress.  We did have the minor bump of needing more paint but other than that it was a really fun project!  Here are some afters while they were drying and a couple on my porch.  Please ignore the black sheep that is the third chair (I couldn't fit that one in the car so that one will be done next weekend).  You will see the third guy join his siblings in white paint bliss when I show you some updates after a few accessory purchases are made :)

What do you think?  I am so excited to get some slim metal tables and paint them a pale yellow with some fun pale yellow printed pillows for the chairs.  As always, stay tuned and have a great week everyone!

See you swoon,

Punchy Pillows! (and some Etsy love)

I gotta say: making myself wait awhile to work on the den is going to be difficult.  Recall that in my To Do List, I am letting myself get pillows and curtains in the den and am then pausing that room and moving on to the "Library" (aka, living room/office) and laundry room.  The den is starting to look really good though!

I made good on my promise to buy new pillows and bought a bunch of pillow covers on Etsy.  In the den, I have the medium grey IKEA Ektorp sectional and an off-white IKEA Tullsta chair (scored on Craigslist years ago for about $30).  I'll get a floor-length white slipcover for this chair in the near term.  I'm going with a white-grey-navy blue and yellow color scheme in this space, which is a really fun departure from my old house, but still in line with my taste.  I found a bunch of navy and white pillows on clearance at Target.  I knew I needed to add a little yellow. Here's a teaser of the prints going in ...

I ended up finding four new pillows for my space.  One is the yellow floral Dwell Studio from Target that is all over the blogosphere.  I have seen this pillow and loved it for months. I finally broke down and bought it.  

I also found a terrific Etsy seller: Festive Home Decor.  She sells beautiful custom pillow covers in super cute patterns.  She ships quickly and everything is packaged perfectly.  I chose two corn yellow Ikat covers and a Richloom Cornwall cover for a lumbar pillow.  Here they are (Target Dwell Studio pillow in back, Festive Home Decor Richloom Cornwall lumbar cover in front):

Aren't they great?  I surprised myself with the Richloom Cornwall print (the small lumbar pillow) but I felt the room would feel a little flat and maybe too nautical with all the yellow and navy.  So the pop of color felt (and is!) a little fun.  I can't wait to add the drapes in the oversized navy Ikat that I love so much ... and of course paint the room and fireplace.  

By the way, if you are interested in some super cute and inexpensive pillow covers, consider Festive Home Decor.  I can't wait to place my next order with her.  

See you swoon,

{Note: Festive Home Decor has not paid or comped us for this post today.  She's got great stuff and is a terrific Etsy seller}